Wales’ new 20mph speed limit will cause ‘confusion, chaos, gridlock and mayhem’ on the country’s roads, a top driving instructor has warned amid major backlash against the Welsh government’s new road safety scheme.
Experienced driving instructor Stuart Walker, who has been training drivers since 1987, warned of widespread anger over Wales’ decision to cut the speed limit from 30mph to 20mph as he said: ‘Angry drivers do not make safe drivers.’
The instructor warned the Welsh government’s scheme lacks public support, as more than 140,000 people called on the Senned to reverse the new limit, in what has now become the most signed petition in the Welsh parliament’s history.
The petition, which saw a sharp rise in signatures after the new speed limits came into force on September 17, calls on the Welsh government to ‘rescind and remove the disastrous 20mph law’.
The Labour run Welsh government claims the £32million rollout of 20mph limits will save lives and cut NHS costs by £92million a year, in the face of accusations from Conservatives they have a ‘anti-worker, anti-road and anti-motorist agenda’.
Experienced driving instructor Stuart Walker (pictured) said Wales’ new 20mph speed limit will cause confusion, chaos, gridlock, and mayhem,’ on the country’s roads
More than 145,000 people signed a petition to reverse Wales’ new 20mph speed limits
The driving instructor told ITV the new speed limits will cause ‘chaos’ on Welsh roads, as he warned lorries, which are all automatic, may face potential problems in attempting to drive up hills at just 20mph.
‘If we go up a steep hill and we can only approach at 20mph the gear box is going to change gear up and down, up and down, and we are going to lose a lot of speed and we’re going to cause chaos, confusion, gridlock and mayhem,’ Mr Walker said in an interview with ITV.
He said the Welsh government’s plans also lack public support, as he argued the new rules need to be seen as ‘justified’ to be effective.
‘The 20mph speed limit now has been devalued. It’s got to be seen as justified for it to work effectively. People are angry and angry drivers do not make safe drivers,’ Mr Walker added.
The driving instructor said he fully supports lower speed limits outside Welsh schools but said he does not believe every 30mph zone should now have a speed limit of 20mph.
‘It will still be too fast for a small number of streets and it is going to be totally inappropriate for a larger number of streets,’ he said.
Mr Walkes comments follow major backlash against the Welsh government’s plans that have seen drivers paint over newly-erected signs and more than 140,000 people put their signatures on a petition to reverse the plans.
The petition has now become the most signed petition in the devolved authority’s history, in receiving more than twice as many signatures as as a 2020 petition to overturn the ban on supermarkets selling non-essential items during Covid.
The petition says: ‘Welsh Government claim to have supporting evidence stating that reducing to 20mph EVERWHERE saves lives! Yet we get flyers merely claiming that it will, and opinions from doctors that see RTCs coming into A&E. This is NOT evidence. The only true evidence is from Belfast and it states it makes NO DIFFERENCE to RTCs!’
Wales introduced new rules on August 17 to lower speed limits in built up areas from 30mph to 20mph
Belfast introduced 20mph speed limits on 76 roads in the Northern Irish capital’s city centre in 2016. A study from 2022 showed the lower speed limits led to a 2% drop in crashes and casualties.
The petition adds: ‘At least one of the trial villages in Monmouthshire actually reverted their trial because it was causing absolute carnage on the roads! Mark Drakeford has come out claiming it is a success in St Brides Major but every time I go though there NO ONE is driving at 20mph.’
In 2022, a trial of the new rules was reversed as 20mph speed limit signs on two roads in Caldicot, Monmouthshire were switched back to 30mph ones, following concerns the new restrictions made congestion worse.
The village of St Brides Major in the Vale of Glamorgan was one of the first trial sites for Wales’ new 20mph limits.